Guest Blog: Gary Richards Xbox One Producer

Hello, Commanders. I'm Gary Richards, Senior Producer on Elite Dangerous for Xbox One. It’s great to finally be able to talk about Elite Dangerous for Xbox One and the surprise launch we’ve been planning!

We released the Elite Dangerous Game Preview on Monday during Microsoft’s E3 Media Briefing. You can play Elite Dangerous right now on Xbox One as part of the new Game Preview Program, making it the first major ‘Early Access’ game available on console. We’re offering it at a special introductory price if you buy now, just like we did with the Mercenary Edition on PC, and when the Game Preview ends you’ll automatically receive the complete release version of the game.

When you buy the game you’ll be asked to create a Frontier account or link an existing one. Once you’ve logged in you'll be able to take flight in our beta galaxy. We call it a ‘beta’ galaxy, but this is already the complete Elite Dangerous experience without compromise. You’ll be set loose in an open space, with 400 billion star systems to explore and a massively multiplayer galaxy where players have real control over the background simulation.

Elite Dangerous is about living a real life in our real galaxy, far off in the 34th century. You could be a trader, an explorer, a pirate, a miner, a mercenary or all of those things at once in an open galaxy you can experience how you choose. We’ve worked hard to make our ships feel real, to make our physics real, to create real stars and planets with real chemistry, and a massive simulation players can affect just by playing. 

Our galaxy is so real, if you look up from Earth you’ll see familiar constellations, with every star given its real name. It’s not just a beautiful skybox; those stars are in the right places because our Milky Way is as real as it gets.

Elite Dangerous a truly unique experience on Xbox One and over Xbox Live, and it's only going to get better as we progress through the Game Preview Program. As the first game in the Game Preview Program, and it was important to us to give Xbox One players an experience that already felt hand-crafted for console. This is a true ‘Early Access’ test, not a demo, but we still went the extra mile to bring Elite Dangerous to Xbox One the right way.

The first change you’ll notice if you’re joining us from PC or Mac are a selection of rearranged Training missions, with new loadouts and combat spaces to hone your skills. We’ll be bringing those to PC and Mac later this year because we think they’re a great introduction to the game.

You’ll also notice a whole new gamepad UI layer. Some people already play with a gamepad on PC and Mac, but we wanted to make the whole experience more robust on Xbox One so we built a new controller layout with context-sensitive menus whenever you hold a face button to access important functions like the Galaxy Map or Landing Gear. We’ve even brought the Free Camera to Xbox One using one of those context menus, and we’re looking forward to seeing your Xbox One screens!

Of course we support Achievements, Parties, Xbox Live’s Friends List, and you can even compare your progress to Elite and your total kills with friends straight from the dashboard. And yes - we have an Achievement for becoming Elite. We think it will be one of the most challenging Achievements on Xbox One.

Bringing Elite Dangerous to Xbox One also meant reengineering and optimization for the new hardware. Elite Dangerous for Xbox One is already running at 1080p, and we’re aiming for the highest framerate possible. Our Executive Producer Michael Brookes will be here later this week to talk about how developing for Xbox One will make Elite Dangerous better wherever you play.

Xbox One is also where we’ll be testing our new instant-action PVP mode first. Close Quarter Combat (CQC) Championships will throw players into PVP combat in custom arenas, and tomorrow we’ll have designers Jim Stimpson and Dan Davies to talk about how it works here on the community blog. Play CQC first on Xbox One in July, and read about it here tomorrow.

Finally, I want to thank all our players on PC and Mac. We’ll have a major announcement for you soon, but for now I can tell you the new controller UI will be coming to PC and Mac later this year, and it will be joined by CQC before the end of 2015. Elite Dangerous will keep growing on every platform it calls home.

Thank you for playing, thank you for joining whether you play on PC, Mac or Xbox One, and Right On, Commander.

Gary Richards